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Minister promises help for 6 homeless families
The old dilapidated building of the Tunapuna Community Centre is now a temporary home for six families who became homeless last week, after the owner of the land on which they lived demolished their former homes at Centenary Street, Tunapuna. Yesterday, the families who now spend their days on makeshift beds, were visited by Minister of the People and Social Development Glen Ramadharsingh, who offered words of comfort to the them, as he promised temporary housing would be granted to the families—all HDC applicants—until they got back on their feet. “All these families are HDC applicants and HDC is aware of this situation,” he said. “However, I can’t speak on behalf of HDC and how it intends to treat with this situation...I can only make recommendations that the case be treated as urgent.
“In the meantime, my ministry has offered to assist these families with temporary housing. “We have asked them to look for apartments within in the area and we will cover the rent for a period of three months until they are back on their feet,” he added. Ramadharsingh, who also provided the families with food items and drinking water on his visit, said that counselling was also being provided to the families, especially for some of the children who have been traumatised by the situation. He said the ministry will also ensure that the children—some of whom are now staying with relatives—will return to school despite the misfortune.
Ramadarsingh said the Government was doing all it could to bring back families and family life. He said his Ministry had encountered so many cases of families living under extreme, inhumane conditions and while it had addressed at least 60 per cent of these cases, there was still a long way to go with much work to be done. “We have encountered families living in chicken coups, someone living in a tank...I mean people living under seriously inhumane conditions that we must attend to,” said Ramadarsingh said.
He said because of the criteria when applying for a house from HDC, many people, those who are unemployed, underemployed or employed but had financial commitments, might not qualify for a home, which was why he believed it was time for the Government to look into probably establishing low-cost emergency social houses to accommodate such situations. “We have to look at the development of low-cost, emergency social houses,” the minister said. “As a matter of fact, we have been doing some forward planning for the budget and we are looking at proposing some of these ideas to have them implemented.”
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